10 – FINALE (yet, only the beginning)

Reflection + Discussion

After discussing a variety of my ideas with my peers and Jacquie, I gained insight into how to approach my project. The culmination of my research throughout the semester resulted in giving me a range of options to explore within the topic of mental health.

I was initially interested in the issue of funding for eating disorders in Australia. This intrigue was sparked after having read the academic articles in blogpost two. The central issue around which these articles was centred was the issue of not meeting a certain weight/BMI criteria thus falling short of being diagnosed with anorexia. However, the rigidity of these factual articles did not speak to me as much as the articles I had been researching conveying personal experiences and those which invoked these experiences through visual imagery.

What interested me most was the public perception of an eating disorder. Often through my research I would discover that the sufferers from the illness often felt judged and as if the public did not understand that a) they were even suffering from an eating disorder or b) did not understand the severity/nor cause of the disorder. I thought it was important to base my design on a personal approach, as sterile and more factual approaches are harder to connect with and usually a bit dry.

After speaking to Jacquie about two of my proposals she said I needed to visualise them more. Essentially the underpinning was there as I have a clear idea of what I want to achieve with the issue I was planning to tackle. However I hadn’t really solved the problem. With my service design I was just planning on making an educational video. I realised that this was lack lustre as it didn’t connect on a personal level which I wanted my concept to achieve.

I then spoke to Georg in the next tutorial explaining both my ideas. She said that the generative idea design was more solved than the service design.

Project title: I have ___ BECAUSE

(work in progress)

Practice type:

Generative Design

The issue:

Eating disorders are often  widely misinterpreted and commonly not recognised as mental illnesses. The public focuses on only the most commonly known one such as anorexia (and perceives them to be suffering,) whereas eating disorders such as EDNOS or Binge Eating often are unrecognised due to the fact there is no physical manifestation or at least not quite as obvious as with anorexia. The degree of severity that the public accords to and treats people with suffering with eating disorders is often skewed by arbitrary criteria and biased assumptions and too often this attitude and judgment is not based on proper information.

In conjunction with this, negative perceptions are also associated with eating disorders such as they are just a stroke of vanity or a ‘fad’ which suggests that they are not in fact a genuine mental illness thus diminishing the disorder and the sufferers by minimising the condition.

The possible change:

Essentially I want to spread awareness about the root cause of eating disorders, and that these root causes differ in each individual. I also want to show that there are a range of eating disorders all with serious health consequences. Despite the less visible physical manifestation of a Binge Eating disorder it can be just as dangerous as anorexia.

My aim is to overturn assumptions or popular misconceptions that cause an eating disorder irrespective of the form or manifestation of that disorder.

The Design action to support change:

My generative design takes form in that of an interactive website. Essentially I want users to submit their thoughts if they are struggling with an eating disorder. The website will have parts of the screen where you click and it leads you to a trail of assumptions about an eating disorder leading in the words such as “I have an eating disorder because…I’m Vain” as an example. After clicking through a minefield of assumptions such as the example above, a statement will appear in a contrasting/colour/font that states the actual reason for a person struggling with an eating disorder.


9 -Mapping my final focus

Mapping has been an integral part of group discussions. As we have all had ample time to research it is safe to say we can discuss our topic and focus in depth. With our gathered research we are now required to place it in a design context and come up with a design solution for our issue. To frame our discussion we focused on the questions of Who, What, Where, Why and When.

These categories helped break down our issue, although I found that when I was answering these questions my answers were extremely broad. There were a lot of issues I  wanted to branch out with in terms of eating disorders. Therefore I couldn’t fortify a solid response of a specific group to which I wanted to target my design response.

I found myself referring to the stakeholders such as government organisations during my mind maps, however reflecting after class that during my research what really made a poignant mark were the human actors that were suffering with the disorder. I found myself always focussing on the individual’s experience, thus this mapping exercise helped distinguish what actor I wanted to focus on.


Class Mindmap focussing on on The Who, What, Where, Why and When questions.

After sharing these thoughts with our group I realised that many group members were in the same position as myself. We were all thinking too broadly about the topic. What really helped was when Chris came over to our table and explained that we had to break down why it was important. For example “It is important to beat the stigma” then Chris would tell us to approach this like a child and pose to us “but why is that important?” and we would have to break it down even further e.g “to normalise talking about mental health”. Whilst in class we didn’t get to touch on these specifics it was helpful to understand what was needed for the later stages of our proposal.


Personal Mindmap with a clearer focus

This Mindmap I made on my own. I wanted to explore the human actors on the flipside of eating disorders. These human actors are the ones that participate in behaviours that stigmatise eating disorders. Although a bit jumbled, this map has clarity to me and what I want to focus on in my final proposal. It is a mixture of social media behaviours and and general thoughts in relation to an outsider’s view on what an eating disorder entails.

8 – Brainstorming possibilities for a Design Response

Collectively brainstorming in our groups over this semester has lead to a deeper understanding of mental health in our selected issues. The point of the brainstorming session was to ask why intervention was important from a design perspective. From broadly discussing our issue of interest we were able to distinguish language and participants in the vicinity of the issue. Mapping the human actors in the problem helped narrow down the area of focus. My initial direction was shaped by mapping as during these sessions we focussed a lot on the organisational side of mental health.

I thought an interesting avenue to explore would be hospital funding as there were a large amount of organisations associated with mental health. Non-for profit for example, but also I thought it would be interesting to explore how hospitals treated mental health.

However, I thought logistically this was more a funding problem and I was interested in a more humanistic approach to mental health.

During the tutorial we were asked to explore these questions

Who does the problem affect?

What are the boundaries of the problem?

When does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?

Where does the problem occur? Where does it need to be fixed?

Why is it important?

These questions helped identify the nitty gritty elements of the problem


Eating disorders affect individuals of any socioeconomic background, age, gender and ethnicity. They are non discriminatory as a mental illness despite what the media may convey. Eating disorders also affect those such as family members dealing with the problem and government bodies including health care funding. I want to specifically focus on how the public perceives this mental illness.


The boundaries rely on representation. Often eating disorders are portrayed as positive through the media as if skinny is something to strive to e.g super models, actors. They often are associated with a strong will Only portrayed as two disorders anorexia and bulimia, OSFED (Other specified feeding or eating disorder) previously known as EDNOS (eating disorder not other wise specified), binge eating disorder and disordered eating. All very common but go undiagnosed


Eating disorders are not restricted to their whereabouts. They can occur from social situations, stress induced situations related to school or work, traumatic experiences or sometimes can be a genetic pre-disposition.


They can occur in a home situation, social situation, school/work situation but essentially effect individuals throughout their everyday life.


It has one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness as well as a mental illness it translates into a physical one even though sometimes unseen. All types of eating disorders have serious health repercussions and it is important the public can see this without judgement.

The Plan…

Service Design: I aim to create an educational and interactive application. This application can show two photos of people suffering from eating disorders. Essentially I want it to compare an anorexic person to someone suffering a binge eating disorder. They both can look completely different but once revealed the application will show that both suffer serious health consequences

Service Design: Similar to my application, I would want to create a video that explores this concept. Almost like the super annexation advertisement where it shows to women or men and states “compare the pair”. I could turn this into an interactive video to go down certain paths of assumptions

Generative Design: I want to create a website where people can anonymously submit their thoughts if they are suffering with an eating disorder. I would have to think of something catchy like a slogan such as “Don’t assume X,Y OR Z” because I have an eating disorder. This would essentially beat the stigma as people who haven’t experienced an eating disorder often have narrow minded views

Generative Design: Similar to my above idea I want to create a contribution data base where people with eating disorders can connect with one another and share their similarities and differences with one another through an online anonymous forum

Data visualisation: Statistics reflecting the age bracket of 18-24 and how many people suffer from eating disorders other than recognised ones such as anorexia i.e. binge eating or disordered eating.

7 – Just keep Mapping…

Throughout the course of this subject mapping has played a major role in documenting our thought process. In our class groups of five we regularly build upon each week of work. This collaborative process helps us think more deeply about the participants in the realm of mental health.


Mental Health word association exercise “Soft and Hard”

The maps below marked the controversies associated with mental health. Much like our previous maps, we have overlapping participants such as health professionals and the sufferers.


Mapping the controversies in Mental health

Personally the mapping exercise that I found most beneficial involved the entire group. All the students focussing on the topic of mental health were brought into one room. Whilst we were initially divided up into our original groups from class to work with, we built on a larger collaborative process. As a group we had come up with one hundred or so words that we associate with mental health. The focus of the exercise was to think without inhibitions and write down the first thing that came to mind. When we had completed this task we had to lay the cards out on the table and view what the other groups had discussed. We had to walk around the room and choose five words that resonated with us deeply in relation to the topic of mental health we were focussing on.

The words I chose were: Voices, Relapse, Eating Disorder, Acceptance and Statistics. These words were particularly resonant because they had adequately described a lot of the personas in the articles I had read during the first few weeks of the subject. I found this exercise particularly informative as we were able to share thoughts of other members in the group. Some of these words and feelings had not been discussed within my class group so it was an eye-opening experience to gain a different perspective.


An example of the word association exercise.


6 – Scraping the Web

The internet is a place fuelled with judgement and critique sometimes without proper knowledge. As my point of focus has developed around eating disorders I wanted to “scrape the web” to examine what views are associated with eating disorders.

Using the tool on twitter “Advanced search” I typed in the words “anorexia”, “bulimia” and “eating disorder”. The reason being that Anorexia and bulimia most commonly known, as well as the phrase eating disorder in general. I was interested to see the opinions based on these specific disorders and if other ones were mentioned in conjunction.

My first opinion based finding  reflected the narrow minded view some twitter users perceive eating disorders.


One of the first tweets I found reflected this view. Firstly eating disorders can take any shape or size and are deadly no matter if you are underweight or overweight. The physical damage is still there. This tweet is narrowing the idea that you must be thirty pounds underweight from a goal weight in order to achieve an eating disorder. From extensive research on this topic, people with eating disorders never feel as if they have achieved their goal weight. screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-9-28-26-pm

Another tweet that stood out was comparing mental illness to poverty. Whilst poverty is an extremely topical and relevant issue this user trivialises mental illness as if it were a choice that an individual makes.


This tweet is in no way phrased subjectively or loaded with opinion. However its blatant ignorance is clear. It only mentions three eating disorders known to be the main ones. It fails to see that OSFED/EDNOS are actually some of the most common ones.

The second half of my web scraping included sufferers of the mental illness using the internet as a tool to express themselves and raise awareness of the issues at hand. I thought this was extremely positive as they are trying to educate other users.


This tweet was based on a social media perspective. The user speaks about skinny shaming. A valid point and also brings up “any eating disorder” as an illness.


This user brings up the other diagnosed eating disorders. The user exclaims that judgement needs to be stopped. It is a thread of tweets arguing what is classified as an eating disorder if one is binging. This sheds light on the fact that no eating disorder is exactly the same and symptoms can vary between individuals.


This user explores the danger of using eating disorder terms in a trivial manner. She states that these terms shouldn’t be used to “describe anything other than an eating disorder”.

My web scraping showed the multi-faceted nature that users approach the topic of eating disorders. Whilst some tweets are users experiencing the illness and speaking out, a huge percentage of those trivialise the illness and do not fully understand the consequences of it. Web scraping helped me analyse the language used around this topic and how people form opinions on it.

3 – Mapping and Image archiving

Mapping Exercise

This particular mapping exercise helped myself and my group realise the multi-faceted nature of mental health and its participants. Commonly we view mental health as only affecting those with the illness. However, brainstorming helped us realise that there are many participants at work on the issue.


After dividing the maps up into categories we realised that people, organisations and objects are interlinked .final

Image Archive



(Witchoria 2015)

These two images represent the true nature of bipolar. The two images are exactly the same however  the words used are quite different. The strong opposing statements with the same image show that there can be two radically different perspectives and responses within the same person’s mind, which is characteristic of the disorder.The phrases reflect two very different responses to the same situation.




(Witchoria 2015)

Witchoria is a Graphic Designer from Brooklyn, NY. I found her works quite tongue in cheek reflecting on sad statements in a fun and bittersweet way. For example this image is associated with fun and love. The dire words “Self Loathing” imprinted on the sweet shows this bittersweet connection. The representation is equally ironic and emotive. In sharp contrast to the articles I have read, this owns mental health in a humorous way.



(Witchoria 2015)

Witchoria combines a social Internet phenomenon – google maps in conjunction with a moody and dark image. The image conveys separation and loss. It is unclear whether this is just sadness or the person is actually suffering from a mental illness. However from the mood and tone of the image inferences may be drawn such as the feelings of separation or  anxiety or depression.


4 T

(Tracey Emin 1999)

Tracey Emin is an artist who documents her experience. Suffering personally with mental illness, Emin makes this evident in her work. The above artwork depicts a sense of isolation and loss. It is almost as if the words which are juxtaposing statements reflect two voices in the persona’s mind – mimicking how mental illness works. This is made even more poignant as Emin uses the second person which highlights the feelings of disconnection with oneself, also characteristic of mental illness.



(Pinterest, 2016)

This image is in relation to eating disorders. It is a very forceful and harsh image. Obviously the toilet is an essential commodity for everyday use but in this image it is depicted in a way to fuel the eating disorder, perpetuating the belief that food serves no purpose as it s toxic and must be purged.


(Prozac Nation, 2001)

This image is from the film Prozac Nation. Here the character is depicted as depressed with the sombre lighting and film techniques. In addition to the expression on her face. This is a typical image used when people think of mental illnesses such as depression. When I was researching  articles from the media I discovered that they all too often stereotypically depict females in a sad looking state to convey depression.



(Antonio Andrade, 2016)

This image is by the creative director for Cake magazine. The magazine’s vibe can be described as fashionable and alternative. This image is disturbing as it is somewhat glamourising being in a suicidal state. This is done by the objectification of the female body adding sex appeal in a fashion context.



Rupi Kaur is a Canadian poet and artist.The intricate line work in this piece is organic in its form. It represents something growing into a positive experience. Combined with the words, and the facial expression together with the closed in posture it is apparent the person depicted has been through something intense yet the overall image  perhaps because of the birds as a sign of hope and life  conjures hope and survival. It is a beautiful mage, very evocative through its simplicity.

(Rupi Kaur, 2015)



(Celeste Mountjoy, 2016)

This image takes a satirical turn on mental illness. It is very real. Often people think mental illness is easily cured by asking someone to snap out of it. This humorous comic sarcastically  addresses the issue of misconceptions and lack of understanding about mental illness by revealing through humour that only those who have never suffered mental illness would approach the issue of suicide for example in such a glib manner. 


Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 4.32.32 PM.png

(Celeste Mountjoy, 2016)

Mountjoy again uses humour to depict mental illness. The “crippling anxiety” is personified as another person and close friend to the sufferer because it plays such a prominent role in the sufferer’s life and the other friend , “escapism” is depicted as  a life-size bottle of wine as a coping mechanism. Obviously this image is different to the articles I have read as it uses surreal imagery and through metaphorical representation evokes an emotional response and insight into the pervasive and invasive  nature of mental illness.


Witchoria, 2015, Tumblr, Eat Your Heart Out viewed 9th of August 2016 <http://witchoria.com/post/109908644117/eat-your-heart-out>

Witchoria, 2015, Tumblr, Back to Bed, viewed 9th of August 2016 <http://witchoria.com/post/127447908802/back-to-bed>

Witchoria, 2015, Tumblr, Bipolar, viewed 9th of August 2016 <http://witchoria.com/post/97690322602/bipolar>

Emin, T. 1999, Tracey Emin Studio, It Never Felt like This, viewed 9th of August 2016 <http://www.traceyeminstudio.com/artworks/1999/02/it-never-felt-like-this-1999/>

Pinterest, 2016, Put Calories Here, viewed 9th of August 2016 <https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/85/a9/e7/85a9e7a957617a74450741ab6315ec03.jpg>

Antonio, T. 2016, Another Perspective, viewed 10th of August 2016 <http://antonioandrade.tumblr.com>

Kaur, R. 2015, Milk and Honey, viewed 10th of August 2016  https://www.rupikaur.com

Mountjoy, C. 2016, Tumblr, Yeah Cheer Up Buckaroohttp://filthy-ratbag.tumblr.com/post/138069469920/yeah-cheer-up-buckaroo

Mountjoy, C. 2016, Instagram, Wahoo <https://www.instagram.com/p/BATiwGNLXVq/?taken-by=filthyratbag&gt;

5 – Grey Areas

Primary research has been a vital element in furthering my education around mental health. A fundamental aspect has been participating in group discussions with the same four to five students every week each of which are researching the same topic.

A critical point that was raised in class discussion was the trivialisation of Mental Health. In particular, the labels and phrases we all use as colloquialisms. Whilst everyone in my discussion group was aware of the detrimental effect these words can have, I was interested to see if my peers who were focussed on other topics were as aware.

A required task was for each individual to interview a peer in a different group. My interviewee was Basilia whose chosen topic was gender equality. I began the interview by asking Basilia’s opinion on the language used to trivialise mental illness. I gave her an example of a common phrase “I’m so OCD” and asked her if she thought anything was wrong with that statement. Immediately she responded “I do feel I am OCD in some ways but obviously I have never been diagnosed”. We then discussed the grey areas between diagnosed and undiagnosed mental illness and the defining factors and criteria of what warrants a diagnosis for example: being sad for one day as opposed to a series of many days, where one would consider themselves depressed and may be diagnosed with depression, or in this case, enjoying cleaning as opposed to a series of repetitive actions that lead to the diagnosis of OCD.

“I do feel I am OCD in some ways…obviously I have never been diagnosed”

After some discussion she retracted her statement “Now that you’ve pointed that out to me…its not okay to advocate it or say it as a thing that passes by”. Basillia initially thought that it was okay to speak that way about herself as long as she wasn’t directing those phrases to another person. We then discussed that someone overhearing the conversation may be offended if someone trivialises their diagnosed illness in that manner. We essentially concurred that education plays a fundamental role. By helping people understand the true meaning and implications of their words and biases around mental illness, this kind of behaviour/mentality/mindset can be rectified.

We then lead into the topic of opening up about mental health with friends, family and on social media. It is interesting to note that since 2012 mental Health among the youth in men and women has been rising significantly (Mission Australia 2015).

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 4.07.22 PM






A visualised representation of Mental Health problems increasing over the past few years. (Mission Australia 2015)

I asked her if she was open to talking about mental health with friends and she said only her close ones. Although she has noticed that her friends on social media often try to reach out by posting statuses and sharing articles urging their friends to talk if there is a problem. She said whilst this is a great idea in theory, she wouldn’t feel comfortable reaching out to just anyone if she had a problem with her mental health.

For Basilia’s take home probe I wanted her document how mental health is spoken about in real life as well as social media. I wanted Basilia to note down whether the mention of mental health was positive of negative when mentioned. Basillia said that it did not come up in every day conversation in real life, much like her response shying away from talking about it in real life. However, she did mention the strong presence on Social Media. For instance the phenomenon of “It’s OK to talk”. This is a trend that involves men posting a photo of themselves with the hashtag #itsokaytotalk. This is supposed to raise awareness of mental illness, particularly this issue of suicide among the male population.


A male friend taking part in the “It’s OK to talk” Campaign. (Facebook 2016)

From this interview and probe I learnt

•Not everyone is aware of colloquial terms that trivialise mental health

•Education plays an important factor in de-stigmatising mental health

•The notion of “let’s talk” is a good one, however it is currently unapproachable and needs to be brought about in an approachable manner

•People are more comfortable approaching the topic of mental health via social media rather than face to face

•Social media and hashtags are a good way to raise awareness amongst our age group


Facebook, 2016, Viewed 20th of August 2016 <www.facebook.com>

Interview with Basilia Dulawan

Mission Australia, 2015, Young People’s Mental Health Over the Years, Youth Survey 2012-2014


4 – Fun House

Hospitals are commonly known for their sterile environment, much like psychiatric wards. Design has the power to shape an environment and evoke emotions. UK artist and activist James Leadbitter has struggled with Mental illness during his lifetime and has been confined to many psychiatric wards under the public health system.

Leadbitter has undertaken a project called “Mad Love: A Designer Asylum”. Although hypothetical, Leadbitter explores through research what a psychiatric ward would look like if it were designed by the patients themselves. In collaboration with Hannah Hull they gathered information from over three hundred patients as well as psychiatrists,architects and designers. Mad Love, was opened up initially at the Foundation of Art and Creative Technology. Major sponsors were James Christian, an architect and a PHD researcher Benjamin Kolosowki. Leadbetter wanted the space to be “playful and exciting” (Slate 2015) with the idea of remodelling what a mental health hospital should appear as.

One of the key elements of the installation is that its design is “inviting” (Slate 2015) so a use of bold colours and textures have been used to create the environment. The design has a diverse range of assets including time that can be spent as a community and private time. For instance, the cooling tower is a modern day take on the padded cell. Completely sound proof, it allows the patient to scream, shout and vent. With its bright red colour and comfortable soft interior it creates a more inviting space for the patient as opposed to a sterile one. As well as the private elements there is a designated discussion area for around two to four people and is painted in pastel pink turkish delight colours. The space is tight-knit with the aim for a close and quiet conversation. The radical concept that Leadbitter is exploring is to make the asylum “safe” (Slate 2015) and challenge the negative stereotypes of mental illness by juxtaposing sensory experiences such as soothing colours, sounds and concepts more akin to a resort such as herbalists and conceptual art therapy mental. In this way mental illness is demystified and can be experienced in a nurturing environment more compatible with healing and less riddled with fear and judgment.


A sketch of the development of the padded cell.(Slate 2015)


The interior of the padded Cell. (Slate 2015)

As well as the physical environment being challenged from traditional stereotypes, there are also a range of programs developed such as drop in sessions, family visits, phone lines, workshops and conceptual art therapy.

Ultimately the idea represents only a microcosm of what needs to be achieved in the mental health system and hopefully with adequate funding, the idea can be fortified and practically implemented.

“A unique space where mutual care blossoms”

Leadbitter’s ultimate goal is to “attempt to create a unique space where mutual care blossoms, stigma and discrimination are actively challenged, divisions understood, and madness can be experienced in a less painful way” (MadLove 2016).


MadLove, 2016, United Kingdom, viewed 19th of August 2016, <http://madlove.org.uk/&gt;

The Eye – Slate’s Design Blog,2015, viewed 19th of August 2016 <http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2015/03/19/madlove_a_designer_asylum_from_james_leadbitter_the_vacuum_cleaner_is_a.html&gt;

2 – The journey of Relapse and Recovery: a patient’s story and the importance of exploring Atypical eating disorders

After the analysis of my five media articles I decided to research thoroughly into Eating Disorders. Eating disorders due to their complexity and the systematic secrecy the sufferer practices means that they  often are not recognised and therefore untreated until the patient is in critical condition.

The Patient’s Account of Relapse and Recovery in Anorexia Nervosa

This article summarised the findings of a study to determine subjective accounts of weight -recovered females. This was a qualitative study utilising qualitative interviews to gauge the respondents’ actual perspectives.  It was an academic article using technical and medical jargon. The author of the article conducted by this study for her Master’s Thesis.

Rigorous procedures and protocols were strictly employed in the selection process -participants were sourced from inpatient or outpatient treatment. Ethics approvals were obtained from the Ethics Committees, informed consents received from each participant and the author conducted the questionnaires in line with the Ethics Committee’s approvals. Data was collected via tape recordings and transcribed on to software.  The qualitative results uncover 6 core categories that participants believed contributed to their recovery.

Whilst it is an academic article, it is interesting as it explores a personal perspective for the sufferers in order to try to understand a poorly understood and complex illness. It was particularly interesting it extracted certain quotes from participants that made the study more human and not merely a dry academic exercise. It identifies motivation to recover, good emotional regulation and social support as key factors that helped recovery. Those who did not score well on these factors relapsed. Most importantly, the study concluded that individual needs for treatment are critical and more qualitative research could assist in developing tailored relapse prevention programs.  Whilst the study is limited as it is qualitative it highlights that suitable therapy and non -judgmental support are key to recovery.

Atypical eating disorders: a review

This article explores the controversial issue of the way Atypical eating disorders (AEDs) or eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) are treated medically and diagnostically.  The article explores the fact that as certain clinical criteria may fall short of a diagnosis of conventional categories such as anorexia or bulimia, there is a risk that AEDs are not treated with the same level of therapeutic care and that sufferers of AEDs suffer distress and potentially many clinical and physical risks that may be missed. The article cites statistics and findings to illustrate that the criteria for diagnosis are not well defined and arbitrary (for e.g.: BMIs) and different measures of physical health there is a lack of uniform agreement within the medical world.

The article concludes that AEDs are in fact even more prevalent and that treatment should be immediately offered because an AED is not a “milder”(Garcia, Délavenne& Déchelotte)  ED but can be transitional and should be treated with a view to prevention of progress t another ED. The article cites studies and statistics to support and conclude that AEDs are equally serious to other EDs and it is essential that treatment be treated at the outset of diagnosis.

The article summarised clinical findings and research and used meticulous clinical methods and approaches to disseminate findings to support a conclusion. Expressed with statistics and medical and technical jargon, it nonetheless identified the misconceptions around AEDs and explained the critical need for them to be treated as seriously as the standard ED with early intervention and therapy.


Garcia FD, Délavenne H, & Déchelotte P, 2011, Atypical Eating Disorders: a review, Nutrition and Dietary Supplements, vol 3, pp. 67-75.

Federici A & Kaplan A, 2007,The Patient’s Account of Relapse and Recovery in Anorexia Nervosa, European Eating Disorders Review, vol 16, issue 1, pp. 1-10

1 – Mental Health in our Media

Mental Health are two words that encompass a variety of topics and conversations. Whilst this topic was exceptionally broad, to begin my research I tried to focus on certain illnesses that I wanted to gain more information on. For instance Anxiety, Depression and Eating disorders. I found a range of articles that examined the perspectives of these illness from the public, the media and the sufferers.

Were not doing enough just raising awareness of Mental Health

The first article focuses on the lack of funding and education within the public mental health system in Australia. The article is by Deidre Fidge a freelance writer and comedian. Fidge studied social work and is passionate about social issues including Asylum seekers and mental health amongst the youth. Fidge argues that we are progressing positively by acknowledging the prevalent nature of mental health in Australia as a community. However, creating campaigns which raise awareness only reaches the point of stalemate without adequate funding. Fidge draws on her own experience with the public health system. This shifts the perspective of the article largely to an opinion based one. Fidge examines her personal struggles with lack of education from public funded health practitioners as well as affordability when reaching out to these services. Fidge adopts a lighthearted and comedic tone whilst raising these issues in order to make the piece relatable and personal. Fidge is adopting the position of a minority group by focusing on those struggling with mental illness. However her overall view, is a common amongst those struggling with mental illness.

The Problem With Making Mentally Ill Women Desirable in Films

Elfy Scott is a freelance writer and journalist who regularly contributes her opinion and personal experience to Catalogue magazine touching on issues such as feminism, mental illness and body image. Her personal motivation for writing this was her interest in a filmic/media portrayal of mentally ill women verses her own experience in Mental Illness. Scott is somewhat enraged by the glamorisation of mentally ill women – i.e. having a mental illness means the viewer can have a different insight into their world. For example Cassie in Skins is suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, yet on screen always presented as presented as “attractive” (Scott 2016) even in serious cases like her therapy video. Scott applauds the films that take a more realistic approach in portraying mental illness such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Scott’s article is biased towards certain film portrayals yet uses little evidence to support her argument other than the casting in the movies. That the mentally ill women are attractive and being “fucked up” (Scott 2016) makes them more interesting. I personally am sitting on the fence with this article. I can see Scott’s point of view but as it is wholly opinion based without much evidence to support her statements.

“Your BMI isn’t low enough for treatment”

Illona Burton is a researcher and journalist that specialises in writing about eating disorders and other mental health problems. She regularly contributes to the Independent and has written her own books such as “Anorexia The Essential Guide”. Immediately the validity of her background adds credibility to the article and its approach to eating disorder treatment. However the article is written with a certain bias as it is purely drawing on one individuals personal experience. Burton begins the article by giving an example of a physical problem that is given instant medical attention by then juxtaposing her own experience with anorexia, bulimia and depression that is not dealt with until she is in critical condition. Her narrative like approach to the article invokes sympathy towards her. This is done to garner a response of activism and rage as to why her early signs of anorexia were not treated early on when bystanders noticed her change in behaviour. Her writing is representing a minority suffering with mental illness and the objective is to increase public awareness.

Coping with University when you have Anxiety

The author is studying a Masters of Journalism and approaches the topic in an investigative yet raw, conversational manner.   She uses an example of a typical young University female student who appears outwardly well adjusted yet is so overcome with deep anxieties she can barely function. This is how the author introduces the concept of “invisible disabilities”(Hijacked 2016). People who suffer from various debilitating conditions such as mental illness, epilepsy and diabetes which unlike wheelchairs and guide dogs others cannot easily see or appreciate. She cites statistics and data from legitimate sources such as the Australian Network on Disability and Black Dog Institute to emphasise how serious the impact of mental illness is on young people and how it impacts functioning at University. She provides insight on how Faculties and Educational Support Services sometimes hinder rather than help these students in their misguided approaches. At the core the author is saying that Universities need to develop a holistic approach to mental illness in order to provide genuine support for students who basically just want to achieve the normality of handing in an assignment without having “a breakdown”. Her use of data and reports combined with an interview of a person suffering with anxiety and depression give the piece huge credibility. The motivation is simply one of her interests. There isn’t any information that she has suffered with mental illness. There is not particular bias as she is simply using a secondary source to back up her article and statistics.I personally agree as she has formulated a well thought argument using statistics to back up her statements.

Losing even more weight to get priority treatment for Anorexia

Brynn Davies is the author of the final article I read. She tells the story of Margot Robertshow. The article is conducted through the ABC’s program triple j hack. The article is based on an interview with Robertshow discussing her experience with anorexia treatment. It is raw and candid explaining how the eating disorder impacted on her and how deeply it affected all of her activities. The article quotes a Dr’s opinion on how sufferers don’t see the seriousness of their condition. Most significantly  the Butterfly Foundation’s “Paying the Price Report “ is cited evidencing the “lack of appropriate services” as a primary reason that sufferers don’t receive treatment. This is further backed by statistics of how few beds are available nationally, and how RPA screens for severity of symptoms for admission.Margot candidly explains how after 6 months await and a failure to process her application she had relapsed when finally admitted to one of the 6 beds at RPA . The article succeeds in exposing the lack of publicly funded healthcare (Medicare offers only 10 rebateable psychology sessions ) and more importantly the fact that treatment is short term based which leads to future relapses. Although the article presents an opinion that eating disorders should rate as highly as any physical health issues,it is solidly supported by research, especially from the leading eating disorder research body, The Butterfly Foundation. The perspective of Margot and her suffering personalises the issue and highlights the dubious criteria employed for assessing sufferers, which means many are missed and ultimately may die or commit suicide.  Ultimately that article explains how it is critical to increase public funding because private treatment is prohibitively expensive and cannot be accessed by most.

From this research I aim to further investigate criteria needed for diagnosis and support for an eating disorder. It shocked me to learn that many are suffering and refused treatment if they don’t meet very specific criteria.


SBS, 2015, SBS, Deirdre Fidge, viewed 8th of August, 2016 <http://www.sbs.com.au/comedy/article/2015/10/09/were-not-doing-enough-just-raising-awareness-mental-health>

Catalogue Magazine, 2016, Elfy Scott, Viewed 8th of August 2016 <https://www.cataloguemagazine.com.au/feature/the-problem-with-making-mentally-ill-women-desirable-in-films-2>

The Independent, 2015, Ilona Burton, Viewed 7th of August 2016 <http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/i-live-therefore-im-fine-the-deadly-approach-to-anorexia-and-a-bmi-that-isn-t-quite-low-enough-for-10420966.html>

Hijacked, 2016, S. McCann, Viewed 7th of August, 2016 <http://hijacked.com.au/coping-with-university-when-you-have-anxiety>

ABC, 2016, Triple J Hack, Viewed 8th of August 2016 <http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/losing-even-more-weight-to-get-priority-treatment-for-anorexia/7255324>